The 2020 NFL Draft brought several talented players to the Los Angeles Rams’ roster, including second round pick, Van Jefferson.
Jefferson wasn’t your atypical college football player that normally succeeds after three or four years at the same school. His pedigree and belief in himself were the key ingredients to a successful college career. He played in 48 games, and was Florida’s leading receiver each of the last two years. For his career, he caught 175 passes for 2,175 yards (12.3 yards average) and 16 touchdowns. He previously played for Ole Miss, from 2015-2017, before transferring to the Gators.
In a recent video conference, Jefferson was asked about his father, Shawn, a former 13-year NFL star and a current coach with the New York Jets, and what lessons and traits he learned from his father over the years.
“Just hard work, dropping your weight, getting out of cuts, that’s something that my dad has taught me ever since I was a little kid,” Jefferson said. “I think that’s something I harp on, that I take pride in, my route running. Just being an all-around receiver, man, just doing everything a receiver does and being the best player you can be.
Jefferson also made sure to let the media know that he was his own man, and he doesn’t want to go back to his father for advice. He wants to develop his own niche in the league.
The Rams already have a core of pretty decent wide receiver with 16 years of combined experience: Robert Woods (8 years), Cooper Kupp (4 years) and Josh Reynolds (4 years). But with head coach Sean McVay’s penchant for offensive variety, a few more receivers might be nice. Why not Jefferson?
Jefferson said Friday, after he was drafted, he had a brief conversation with WR coach Eric Yarber at the NFL Combine but wasn’t sure of the Rams’ interest.
“I kind of got a good feel from him, I didn’t think they would be a team that was interested in me,” Jefferson said.
Both general manager Les Snead and McVay wanted to fill holes left vacated by departures earlier in the offseason. In some regards, Jefferson is going to try and accommodate the Brandin Cooks loss, which will make for some interesting competition this summer.
In an interview with Sarina Morales on the Rams’ official website, he indicated that in order for him to be ready, he was going to get into his playbook, “I gotta make sure I’m down with that. I gotta make sure that I know the plays, and I want to go in with my eyes wide open.”
Jefferson also said that he will try to be confident, know his abilities and try to get under the veterans and learn from them, see how they do things by picking the brains of Jared Goff, Woods and Kupp.
“I’m excited to come to the offices, learn from the guys that are there, get under a veteran’s wing and learn the offense as quick as I can.”
A foot injury sidelined Jefferson’s draft position, but the Rams deemed the injury not serious enough to hold him back. The risk reward was too much to bypass.
A fracture in his foot was discovered by doctors at the NFL combine, requiring surgery. Jefferson expected to be fine for the 2020 season.
“I had the surgery on March 5 and right now, I’m 90-percent healthy,” said Jefferson. “I’m in a shoe right now, and jogging. It’s going good.”
Asked if he thought the injury could have affected his draft stock Jefferson answered, “I really wasn’t too worried about it because at the end of the day, it’s going to happen when it’s going to happen,” Jefferson said. “It happened to be the Rams and I’m so excited and I couldn’t be more excited for this to happen.”
If Jefferson lives up to his potential, the Rams may have drafted a gem at pick No. 57. Either way, Goff has more weapons now and the offense could be dangerous if all works out.